Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC

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All posts by Monte Long


9 Things You Should Never Do to Your Car

You probably rely on your car every day to get you where you need to go. But how well can your car rely on you?

There are some things you should never do to your car. Are you guilty of any of them? Check out the list below to find out—and learn what you can do to give your car the care it needs.

9 things to never do to your car

  1. Put off the recommended maintenance. There’s a reason the car manufacturer gives you that little book when you buy a car. It contains important maintenance guidelines for the age and mileage of your car. By following what it says, you can keep your car running smoothly and safely—and save on having to pay for big repairs later on.
  2. Ignore any warning lights. Most cars come with a check engine light and other warning lights. If any warning light goes off, it’s time to take your car to a qualified mechanic ASAP.
  3. Never change the air filter. A fresh air filter keeps your engine running smoothly and improves your car’s fuel efficiency. Most manufacturers suggest you replace your filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. (Err on the lower side if you drive in dusty conditions or in stop-and-go circumstances.)
  4. Never check your tires’ air levels. Not having the right tire pressure makes for unsafe driving and reduced fuel efficiency. Most vehicles list tire pressure requirements on the driver side door post so you know how much air to give your tires.
  5. Have an unqualified person work on your car. Take the time to find a qualified car mechanic. (Keep in mind that you could qualify as “unqualified” if a repair is beyond your skill level.) Check out our article on how to handle an auto repair for helpful tips on finding a qualified mechanic.
  6. Rev the engine during the winter. Doing this doesn’t warm up the car—in fact, it can cause damage since the oil hasn’t yet worked its way through the engine.
  7. Leave keys in the ignition of an unattended car. This is one of the easiest ways to tempt car thieves—especially during the winter.
  8. Run your gas tank down to empty. Doing so cuts the life of the fuel pump—and puts you at risk of running out before you get to a station.
  9. Rarely wash your car. A thorough wash helps preserve the exterior of your car. That can ultimately help your car retain its resale value. A good wash is especially important during winter, when road salt does a number on cars.

Another way to protect your set of wheels is by having the right auto insurance. Contact an insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent for helping finding the right coverage at the right price.

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Life Insurance

Top Three Reasons Why People Buy Life Insurance

Before you can get the life insurance coverage you need, you need to understand why you need it. While there are  many reasons to buy life insurance, the most common reasons include:

  1. Final expenses:Final expenses refer to any expenses related to someone’s passing. This can include a casket, funeral, preparations, memorial service, cremation and more.

Life insurance for final expenses is worth considering—after all, the National Funeral Directors Association reports that the median price of a funeral with a casket is more than $7,000.  Funeral directors  say families without enough funds are forced to cut back on the service or ask friends and family for donations. A modest  term life insurance  policy can unburden your loved ones by taking care of these expenses.

  1. Income replacement:Your loved ones depend on your income to meet daily needs for food, medical care, utilities, car payments and much more. There are also future costs like a child’s college education or contributions you would have made toward a surviving spouse’s retirement. If you pass away without a means for replacing your income, their standard of living could be in serious jeopardy. If you have young children, there may be child care costs or home upkeep expenses to consider if your spouse needs to return to work.

How much life insurance you need is based on two factors: your salary and the number of years until you retire. An  insurance agent  will also account for any other factors such as Social Security benefits, your partner’s income and your savings. Always aim to buy the amount you really need—but also remember that something is better than nothing when it comes to life insurance coverage.

  1. Paying off a mortgage:A mortgage is often the biggest single line item in a person’s budget. Could your family afford your home’s mortgage without your paycheck in the picture? If not, an already sad situation would be compounded by their possibly losing the house they love. This could also mean your children could no longer attend a school in their current district or maintain the friendships they currently have.

Life insurance  can pay off an outstanding mortgage so your family can enjoy the home they love without the burden of outstanding payments.

These are the three most common reasons people purchase life insurance. Yet there are many other reasons for buying life insurance, such as building or leaving an inheritance,  saving for retirement ,  protecting student loan co-signers  and more.

Life Insurance=Love Insurance
February is Insure Your Love month and the campaign is coordinated each year by Life Happens.

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Prevent Porch Pirates from Pilfering Your Packages

There’s almost nothing more convenient than online ordering. But when your work hours don’t align with the delivery schedule, it can leave a nice crime of opportunity for package thieves. One study by InsuranceQuotes.com estimates that 23 million Americans have had a package swiped from their doorstep before they could retrieve it. With two-thirds of Americans reporting they shop online at least once a month, the problem is likely to stick around. Here are a few steps to protect your deliveries from so-called “porch pirates.”

Go-go gadget. Various smart gadgets on the market can be helpful devices when it comes to securing packages. A video doorbell could let you view and speak to the delivery person at your door through your mobile device, so you can simply request they leave the package in a less conspicuous spot — or you can activate your smart lock and have them leave it inside your door.

Contact your carrier. Do a little detective work, and you may uncover some options through the delivery service. Many carriers now offer flexible options that let you schedule or reroute deliveries. For example, you could have them dropped off and held at a retailer near you, or deposited in a secure locker. Before you order, check the alternative offerings from the carrier.

Check your credit card policies. Some credit card companies offer protection against package theft to help you recover your losses. For specifics, get in touch with your credit card company to find out if this protection is available and for how much.

Alternative deliveries. Avoid the unwanted situation altogether and send the deliveries where swiping is far less likely. Your workplace, if your employer allows it, is one excellent option. You can also ask neighbors or family members who are home during the day to accept your deliveries and have your packages routed to their place. Just be sure to give them a little something for their trouble.

Finally, read about holiday burglaries.

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Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi helps us stay connected no matter where we go. It’s convenient to use at a coffee shop, a neighborhood restaurant or the airport, but how safe is it? Unfortunately, cyber criminals can log in to the same free network that you do and attempt to gain access to your devices and personal information.

“The Wi-Fi may be free, but that doesn’t mean your online activities are safe,” says Cheryl Lorei, a senior IT analyst at Erie Insurance who has worked in information security for 15 years. “The big concern with public Wi-Fi is that your information could be available to anyone on the network. It’s nothing against the businesses that offer free Wi-Fi, it’s just that they’re not in the business of keeping your personal information safe.”

Four tips to help make your online activities more secure

Here are a few key things that you need know about public Wi-Fi security and how to keep your personal information safe.

  1. Watch out for phony Wi-Fi access points. Fake routers are designed to look legitimate, but hackers operate them. With this popular method, called a man-in-the-middle attack, the invader tries to get between you and your personal information that is stored on a banking website or in an email. “These situations can be difficult to detect,” says Lorei. “If you don’t know who is running the network, don’t use it. Always ask the business owner or hotel to verify the network name before you connect to it.” Once you’re finished, remove the public Wi-Fi connection from your device. If your device is still in the mode of actively trying to connect, a hacker may notice and create a phony access point. 
  2. Limit your activity while using public Wi-Fi. When you’re using free Wi-Fi, it’s not a good time to shop online, use social media or access your bank account or email. “You want to avoid visiting websites that save and store your personal passwords or credit card numbers,” says Lorei. “You could inadvertently make it easy for someone to access your personal information. Once they have your password, they will try to reuse it repeatedly to access other sites to gain more information about you.” 
  3. Use secured websites or a VPN service. Generally, it’s best to access secured websites that begin with https rather than http. The s in the address is an indication that the site uses a secured encryption Web protocol to protect the confidentiality of online activities or transactions. A virtual private network (VPN) also offers a connection that is encrypted and secured. VPN can help protect you from digital eavesdropping even when you’re on public Wi-Fi. The fees for basic VPN services are less than $10 a month. 
  4. Turn your smartphone into a secured personal hot spot. Most mobile phones can be turned into hot spots and support several devices at once. However, check your data plan before you try it to avoid unexpected expenses. “Personal hot spots are popular alternatives, but you still need to do your research about how to protect and secure the connection,” Lorei says.

Once your identity is stolen, it can be difficult to recover. “Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to flip a switch to restore everything,” Lorei says. “It’s a smart move to do all you can to protect yourself.”

Insurance coverage is available for identity theft and fraud. With Erie Insurance’s Identity Recovery Coverage, you’ll get help with the recovery process and coverage for expenses like charges for credit reports, lost wages and even some legal fees. The cost of the coverage is low—about $20 a year—and it can be added to a home or renters insurance policy. A local Erie Insurance agent can tell you more about the details.

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Holiday Up in Flames

Don’t let a fire take the merry out of your holidays.

The Holidays are a time of year to enjoy friends and family, but sometimes they don’t always go as planned. Don’t believe us? Check out this experiment we did with our Erie, Pennsylvania, City of Erie Fire Department.

ERIE staged a fire in a vacant home which showed how a Christmas tree fire can fill a room with toxic smoke in just 30 seconds and burn down an entire living room in one minute.

“Many people love their Christmas decorations and choose to leave them up for a few weeks after the holiday, but when it comes to a dried-out live Christmas tree, that’s a dangerous risk to take,” said  Gary Sullivan , vice president of property and subrogation claims, Erie Insurance. “We want families to enjoy the post-holiday season safely; we don’t want them to be displaced from their homes due to a fire, or even worse, caught in a life-threatening situation.”

Recent national reporting done by the National Fire Protection Association showed Christmas trees resulted in an annual average of seven civilian fire deaths, 19 civilian fire injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage during a four-year period. Make sure to take care of your tree to ensure a safe and happy holiday.

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Shop Safe Online this Holiday Season

Last year, ERIE Customer Don O.* of Pennsylvania received a text from Amazon letting him know that his package had been delivered.

The only problem? He hadn’t ordered anything—an identity thief had. Don later discovered that the thief had also opened up a fake credit card in his name and used it to purchase an Amazon Prime membership in addition to products from the popular e-commerce site. Just like that, Don became one of the 13.1 million people affected by identity theft in 2015.

Online shopping is growing increasingly popular—last year, the National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving weekend survey revealed that more people shopped on the Web than in stores during the Black Friday weekend.

Yet e-commerce also gives identity thieves new ways to commit their crimes. If you’re shopping from the comfort of your couch this holiday season, the following tips from a variety of experts can help you lower your chances of getting trapped like Don. (Fortunately, his story had a happy ending—check it out below.)

  • Only shop on secure sites. Any page that lets you enter credit card information should start with https:// and include a locked padlock icon. Make sure to enter the correct spelling of the site you intend to visit.
  • Avoid making purchases via a public Wi-Fi connection and computer. Open connections can give hackers direct access to your personal information. The big concern with public Wi-Fi is that your information could be available to anyone on the network. Also avoid using public computers in places like libraries or hotels—they can often store your personal information for anyone to see.
  • Choose strong passwords. If a site requires you to log in,choose a password that doesn’t in any way relate to your personal information. And be sure the password includes a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and characters.
  • Activate your device’s built-in firewalls. Also consider investing in separate security software and updating it frequently.
  • Update your browser(s). Browsers need to be updated just like security software does. Regularly check for browser updates—older versions could have security gaps that leave you vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Check your card’s purchase activity frequently. During the holiday shopping frenzy, it’s worth checking your credit card transaction activity every week or so. Doing so lets you spot and dispute any fraudulent charges ASAP.


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